TIFF ’23: Anatomy of a Fall

Directed by Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall tells the story of one woman’s fight for her innocence after her husband mysteriously dies in front of her at home. Performances within the film are muted, but therein lies their power. The relationship between this mother and her son feels earnest and honest as they attempt to hold keep their lives together. Having come under attack by police investigators, their quiet life has been quickly disrupted and their home flipped on its ear. 

In Anatomy of a Fall, Sandra (Sandra Huller) a successful German writer who lives a quiet life in the French Alps with her husband, Samuel (Samuel Theis) and her visually-impaired son, Daniel (Milo Machado Graner). However, when Samuel’s dead body is discovered, Sandra becomes the primary suspect. As the trial unravels the secrets of her marriage, Sandra’s relationship with her son becomes increasingly strained as their future together remains in jeopardy.

As a mystery, Anatomy of a Fall does its very best to hold its cards close to its vest. This story of this mysterious death unravels at its own pace, keeping the emphasis on the facts (or so it seems). Unlike other murder mysteries, Fall walks the viewer through the process of investigation at length. Attempted re-creations and lengthy conversations about testimonies keep the emphasis on the ‘whodunit’ even more than ‘why-they-done-it’. What matters to the prosecution are the facts yet the film refuses to give too much away. In this way, there are moments where Fall feels as much like watching a trial live on CNN as it does a cinematic narrative. Moments of character interaction unspool differently when they primarily take place on the stand. 

To say any more would potentially give too much away but, suffice to say, Anatomy of. A Fall remains a tightly-written and well-executed mystery that’s bound to entertain audiences.

Anatomy of a Fall is now playing at TIFF ’23. For more information, click here.

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